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2012 Hops Outlook

It looks like quite a few types of hops are selling out already. For my limited needs I think I’m OK for the next 6-8 months, but I’m curious what the outlook might be until the next harvest. I wasn’t brewing during the last big hop shortage. Can anyone provide some predictions, extrapolations, or idle speculation?

For example, right now hops like Citra and Amarillo look to be running out all over. Any ideas or wild guesses what might happen to more widely used hops like Cascades, Hallertau or Fuggles? Do they sell out, see big price increases, or some combination of the two? Or is the supply of hops like these big enough to meet demand? Or do they also get affected as people start using more, say, Cascades as Amarillo becomes unavailable, for lack of another alternative?

I know stores sell various kits designed around hops which are in short supply – for example, NB’s Breakwater Pale Ale kit includes Citra and appears to still be for sale, even though NB isn’t selling Citra by itself. Do stores typically stop selling lots of kits, or do they try to get by with substituted hops?

I’m not stressed about this, since I’m fine making moderately hopped beers and I’m pretty flexible about what I make. But I am curious what the outlook is for late in the year, and any guesses would be welcome.

The hop shortage that can be expected this year will be limited to a few varieties. Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe for sure, maybe a couple other more rare hops. But generally speaking there will not be a hop shortage for the “standard” hops.

The main reason there will be shortages of Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe is because some of these varieties are patented and can only be grown a farms approved by the patent owner for the lifetime of the patent. Others are “protected”. Protected hops are only allowed to be grown by certain farms for the first 20 years after their release, once the protection expires its fair game.

Amarillo, is patented
Simcoe, is protected
Citra, I am not sure.

good news! :cheers:

when was simcoe released? let the countdown begin

Simcoe was released in 2000

Here is a list of hops and information about them.

Some of both. Northern Brewer does what they can to come up with substitutions in hops to keep most of their kits out. I know that the hops used in something like the Black IPA has changed at least a few times due to what hops were available. The Furious Pro Kit has been pretty hard for them to stock since the recipe really hinges on the pile of dry hops which include a bunch of Simcoe which everyone knows has been exceedingly rare the last few seasons and has no easy substitute.

What it looks like is happening with those varieties that have some sort of protection, is that when they were first planted there was only as much acreage planted as they knew they would sell. Now that those varieties are being ‘proven’, the acreage is being expanded to keep just a little bit behind demand. This way, the price can be kept at a premium allowing the folks who spent the $$ to develop them to recoup what it cost them to be able to bring them to the market place.

Those varieties will most likely be a little ‘short’ until the demand begins to slow to the point that there is an over-supply. Once this occurs, I suspect some of that acreage will be pulled to help keep the price up. Not an economist but I used to play one on the railroad that formerly employed me! Hop On!!

i think the supply and demand of these hop’s should even out in the near future. australia and new zealand hop’s are becoming more popular, not only with homebrewers but craft brewies as well. i don’t think that they would dig up any farmland, instead they would have to LOWER the prices. after that who knows, maybe sell us some rhizomes.

Back a few years ago when demand was up (the shortage), the growers up in WA. added something like an additional 24% acreage to keep up with demand. After two great growing years the price began to drop so they yanked out like 8% of what was in the ground. Don’t mark my figures but the data is out there somewhere. I think the US Hop Crop report is where I saw the figures. It’s all about making a living. Hop ON!!

Check the National Agricultural Statistics Service in June. They release figures on hops strung for harvest for the year. They break things out quite a bit, but some varieties don’t get listed as that would disclose individual farms’ data. Amarillo are the most prominent of these. Here’s the home page for hops:

http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_ ... /index.asp

Thanks for the responses. Searching around online, I came across this article →

http://www.brewersguardian.com/files.ph ... 187899.pdf

It’s aimed at people more insidery than me for sure, but I found it pretty interesting. It talks about some of the trends for varieties like Simcoe and Citra, and issues with futures contracts that I’d never thought about.

Assuming they allow it to spread outside the farms that already grow it. I’d imagine the farms that grow it wouldn’t want to lose a stranglehold on such a prized hop! It’s funny because they almost yanked it out of the ground after a couple years because it wasn’t catching on! I guess you never know though, in 8 years it very well might be Willamette.

This year Amarillo is getting a little spread out. Six farms are growing it instead of one!

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